Let me start by saying, I received an email from Rudy Gamble saying we should do a feature where we breakdown the Philly infield – like a point/counterpoint. I said — Ok, point/counterpoint needs controversy, where’s the controversy with the Philly infield? Feels kinda obvious. Then he emailed me saying we should do a feature where we breakdown the Philly infield and he’d use his newfangled player rater that he put together with a calculator. I see. He’s trying to make me look bad. First, I need to point something out; the calculator is a fairly new invention. Sure, the abacus as been around the block, but who uses an abacus? Babylonians. And what happened to the Babylonians? I think Prince dated one once. Other than that, Babylonians are bubkus. There’s surely not too many Babylonians playing fantasy baseball. So, with that said, if you want the Philly infield the non-scientific way, look at my fantasy projections. If you want scientific and/or you are a Babylonian, scroll down to Rudy’s.
1. Chase Utley – He’s the cheese and Rollins is the macaroni. If I could reinvent myself in someone’s image, I’d choose Chase. Hey, that’s got a good ring, Choose Chase. He should run for Philly mayor using that slogan. Right now, he’d win. This is a no-brainer for me. 2nd base is the toughest position to fill in fantasy where you need some value (Catcher is the hardest, but you can do workarounds there.). In an abbreviated ’07, he still gave you 1st round numbers. Here’s what I said in the top ten overall in fantasy baseball post, “Weak position, monster lineup, great ability, fierce determination. Projections: 120/32/115/.325/12.” I stand by those numbers, but that was before Feliz. With the addition of Feliz, subtract five runs.
2. Jimmy Rollins – Philly’s a racist town. Rollins won the MVP and yet he doesn’t see the love like Chase. That’s facts, man. And it’s depressing me. But what’s it doing to J. Roll? Will this make Rollins better or worse? Will Rollins tie his cornrows tighter and play with even more determination? J. Roll seems like he’s that type. To let it roll (pun intended, but still bad) off his shoulders and play even harder, but can he? I’m not so sure. Here’s what I wrote on the top twenty overall post, “…his thirty home runs were the best of his career and now he’s going to be 30 years old in 2008. So if someone else takes him earlier, c’est la vie. Yes, that may be the only time c’est la vie has ever been written in a fantasy baseball blog. Projections: 130/22/70/35/.290.” I stand by those numbers, but with Feliz’s addition you have to subtract five runs and RBIs.
3. Ryan Howard – He’s a monster, probably will lead the majors in homers and could easily beat either Utes or Rolls in a game of “I will eat seven pounds of hamburger meat quicker than you.” He’s below Chase and Jimmy simply because the 1st base position is easier to fill with a heavyweight (I think this is a pun, too, and I apologize.) Back in January, I said his projections would be: 100/50/140/.275. With the addition of freakin’ Feliz, drop ten runs and five RBIs.
4. Pedro Feliz – I got one nice thing to say about Feliz, at least he’s not David Bell. The albatross hanging around the Phillies’s neck is third base, but it doesn’t need to be your burden. Pedro Feliz will kill your morale and you’ll end up muttering to yourself on a street corner. Write this on your fantasy cheatsheet, “Stay Away From Pedro Feliz.” Projections: 65/22/85/.245 so unless you’re drafting Ichiro, an ’07 Magglio Ordonez and a ’94 Tony Gwynn, “Stay Away from Pedro Feliz.” You’re welcome.
Welcome to our first edition of Point/Counterpoint. Grey (the guy who writes most of the posts) and I tend to have different approaches when ranking/judging players so we thought this might prove to be interesting. When we do agree on fantasy baseball, it tends to be either wise (Peavy will have a great 2007!), obvious (Reyes will steal a lot of SB in 2007!), or a harbinger of a roto-disaster (how can Jason Schmidt fail in LA!).
Anyway, without further ado, your very own Phillies infield, America!
4. Pedro Feliz – Signing this guy to a two-year contract drew the ire of some prognosticators. A naïve student of the game might look at the progression of Philly 3B over the years (Schmidt, Rolen, David Bell, Pedro Feliz – with some Dave Hollins, Wes Helms, and Charlie Hayes along the way) and see it as an insult to the Philly fan. On the contrary, Philly fans love to hate their 3B and welcome any justification to do so. Hating Schmidt – perhaps the best 3B of all time – took a lot of effort. Hating Rolen was slightly easier and seems prescient now that he ran himself out of St. Louis. But Pedro Feliz – jeez, you can find so much not to like. I don’t think he makes my top 30 3Bs. The weakest member of a quartet since Ringo Starr. (note: Pedro Feliz = Peter Happy. All he’s missing is Jeff Kent’s pornstache and he’s ready to bang. Best baseball player porn name since Kazuhito Tadano).
3. Ryan Howard – My projected MLB HR leader (47 HRs) and a top 5 finisher in RBIs (130 RBI). But aside from slightly above average run production, not much else from the big man. I have no problem drafting a HR/RBI guy in later rounds if you need power but in the 1st/2nd round, your only need is to draft the best overall player. I project the average 1B to hit .286 – Howard is projected at around .273. That’s roughly the value equivalent of removing 4 HR or 15 RBIs. Add no SBs and it makes him a 2 ½ stat player which gets him an early 3rd round value in my book (where he’ll be already off the board in all drafts) and a #3 ranking in the Philly infield. (note: Ever notice that Ryan Howard is also the name of the white intern-promoted-to-boss on ‘The Office’? It’s set in the Philly suburb of Scranton. Not one joke about it? I enjoy it when people of different races have the same name – gives me the warm and fuzzies. I wait for the day when a white, black, latino, and an asian baseball player all share the same name. All we need is an Asian Lee in the majors to make it happen on the last name (Cliff Lee – White, Derrek Lee – Black, Carlos Lee – Latino). If only Sang-Hoon Lee had panned out…)
Now for the tough one – Utley or Rollins. I think they are close enough in value that taking one ahead of the other wouldn’t qualify as a blunder. Position scarcity doesn’t play a role here – the only difference I see in 2B and SS projections are that SS has better SBs. Otherwise, you’re looking at about 15 players in each position that’ll average about 85/18/72/.283. Both players project about the same for runs. Utley has more value at HR, RBI, and AVG. Rollins has more value on SBs. I’ve got Utley’s HR/RBI advantage equaling Rollins SB advantage (will explain more in upcoming Player Rater just how) so Utley’s better AVG puts him over the top. Maybe they’ll let him win the MVP this year to set the record for the most consecutive MVPs on a team averaging less than 90 wins.
2. Jimmy Rollins (early 2nd round value)
1. Chase Utley (late 1st round value)